Pathology in PNG

Pathology laboratory opens in Port Moresby

Don't Chew betel nut

Don't Chew Betel Nut, Don't Smoke, Reduce Alcohol, Eat Healthy, Exercise Regularly

Fighting Cervice Cancer in PNG

Cervical Cancer Vaccine Creator Supports NCD HPV Pilot Vaccination Program

Choosing Food

The science of taste: Why we choose fries over broccoli

PNG's MRI Scanner

Public health system in PNG gets first MRI scanner

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Don't Chew Betel Nut, Don't Smoke, Reduce Alcohol, Eat Healthy, Exercise Regularly

The Papua New Guinea Cancer Foundation (PNGCF) accompanied by members of the SP Hunters Rugby Team conducted the Healthy Teens School Program (HTSP) to Grade 8 students of Hagara Primary School in Port Moresby today.
PNGCF Health Educator Mr Jacob Oburi conducted the HTSP workshop to 120 Grade 8 students of Hagara Primary School. The workshop focused on encouraging teenagers to make healthy lifestyle choices as a way to reduce the risk of developing cancer in the future.
At the end of the workshop, the SP Hunters assisted Mr Oburi with the Q&A session and distributed school packs to the students that answered correctly. Rhadley Brawa on behalf of the SP Hunters also encouraged the students to live healthy and active lifestyles.
PNGCF were pleased to have the SP Hunters Watson Boas, Karo Kauna Jnr, Wartovo Puara and
Rhadley Brawa come to the Schools Cancer Education Program at Hagara Primary School. The SP Hunters Team has been an avid supporter of the work of the Foundation and we look forward to continuing this partnership this year.
PNGCF would like to thank Kumul Holdings Limited & Kumul Consolidated Holdings, ExxonMobil PNG and Moore Printing for making the School Cancer Education Program possible.
Protect your Family from Cancer. Don't Chew Betel Nut. Don't Smoke. Reduce Alcohol. Eat Healthy. Exercise Regularly. Source: PNG Cancer Foundation

Cervical Cancer Vaccine Creator Supports NCD HPV Pilot Vaccination Program.

On a recent visit to Cancer Council Queensland, the Papua New Guinea Cancer Foundation CEO Dadi Toka Jr and Programs Manager Priscillar Napoleon had the honor of meeting the 2006 Australian of the Year, Australian Immunologist and Creator of the Cervical Cancer vaccine also known as the Human PapilomaVirus (HPV) Vaccine, Professor Ian Fraser AC.
Professor Ian was very pleased to hear that the NCD pilot was finally being implemented. He expressed his support and assistance if required by PNG.
The HPV Vaccination program in NCD, which began at the beginning of this month has so far administered the first dose of cervical cancer vaccine to over 8,000 girls with the second dose scheduled for 6months time.
The 2017 NCD HPV Pilot Vaccination program is supported by Rotary International, Rotary Club of Boroko, the Department of Health, the Department of Education, NCD Health Services, US Embassy, PNG Cancer Foundation, WHO and UNICEF. PNG Cancer Foundation

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The science of taste: Why we choose fries over broccoli

Most people say that if there is a healthy choice on a menu they will take it.

But observations and research show this is generally not the case.

Instead, people tend to make choices based on how food tastes. Typically, the more sugar, salt and fat in the food, the more we will like it.

Genetics, experience and environment also influence our perception of food and the consumption choices we make.

Australians are still not eating as healthily as they should, despite years of programs and publicity warning of the health impacts of poor diets.

But what if we could make healthier foods taste better and thus improve eating patterns?

To examine questions of food taste, flavour and digestion under controlled conditions, we have developed a computational model of food mastication (chewing) and digestion.

We have also developed a kit to map genes that predict flavour preferences, and are measuring how proteins in saliva affect food flavour.

A model to chew on

How a person chews their food, mixes it with saliva and squeezes it with their tongue has a large impact on how it tastes.

But eating is a complex process and is different for every person, and until recently was very difficult to measure and monitor.

Our model can simulate eating behaviour based on data from real people eating different foods. It shows how food products break down in the mouth and how components such as sugar and salt are transported to our taste receptors.

We are also modelling how food gets broken down in the stomach and what happens to it as it moves through the digestive tract.

This will help in the future development of food matched to an individual's physiology, which can deliver nutrients at the ideal location and control the rate of digestion.

Measuring genetic variation in taste

It's now clear that variation in genes influences whether people will like certain foods, and how much they will eat.

For example, the presence or absence of a particular form of a gene involved in smell determines whether an individual is sensitive to androstenone, a molecule that generates the unpleasant flavour found in pork from male pigs.

Individuals with a variant of this particular gene can detect androstenone by sniffing pork.

Androstenone sensitivity is reported to be much higher in Asian populations than in those of European descent.

Other genes are involved in determining preference or avoidance of bitter flavours. For example, a compound known as PROP (6-n-propylthiouracil) is commonly found in green vegetables such as broccoli, and contributes to creating a bitter taste.

People who have the gene for a bitter receptor known as TAS2R38 are able to taste the compound, either mildly or very strongly.

Those without the gene for this receptor are unable to taste it. This explains why some people like their greens more than others.

The CSIRO is developing a genetic kit with the goal of predicting whether or not individuals will like particular foods.

Working with people in their own homes, we have tested and validated a "PROP kit" for detecting and rating bitterness intensity in food.

Our preliminary analysis of DNA collected from test subjects' saliva and cheek cells showed that those who could taste bitterness had the TAS2R38 bitter receptor, and those that could not taste bitterness did not have this receptor.

The test also allowed us to predict which consumers were bitter tasters and which were non-tasters.

This sort of kit gives us an idea of why some people like their greens more than others. The kit will be further tested and validated in a much larger cohort of Australians of both Asian and European descent.

Saliva can alter the taste of food

Saliva is vital in helping us eat food safely, and it lubricates and transports taste molecules from food to our taste buds.

Saliva contains an enzyme called amylase, which breaks down starch into sugars.

If you've ever noticed that some children keep bread in their mouth for a long time, it's because as the amylase in their saliva acts on the starch, more sugar is produced and the bread tastes sweeter.

There are other enzymes in saliva that act on fat and protein, and control how we perceive food.

The composition of saliva in each person is different. It changes throughout the day, and is influenced by what you eat, what exercise you have done, your mood, and even whether it is light or dark outside.

Proteomics (the study of proteins and their function) is an approach that can measure differences in the protein composition of different people's saliva.

The types and level of proteins and enzymes present in saliva vary from person to person, and this changes the way flavour is released from food in our mouth.

The bacteria that live in our mouths, part of our microbiome, also have an influence.

For example, bacteria change the flavours of food by increasing the production of molecules that create particular taste experiences.

The types of bacteria that are present create a unique response in each individual.

Research into individual food preferences — whether they be as a result of our genetics, saliva or the way we chew — may one day guide food manufacturers to produce healthier options of our everyday foods.

Hopefully this may contribute to consumers making better menu selections and decrease the number of food-related diseases currently affecting Australians.

Ingrid Appelqvist is Research Group Leader and Food R&D policy leader at CSIRO

Originally published in The Conversation

Want to be killed by tobacco?

​Do you want to be among the 7 million killed by tobacco yearly?

Take a moment today on World No Tobacco Day to reflect on health problems that tobacco use can cause.

Tobacco use is still one of main factors behind the global non-communicable disease crises.

Highlighted in the Tobacco Free Pacific 2025, tobacco use is the major cause of preventable premature death in many Pacific islands.

The tobacco use prevalence and prevalence of exposure to second-hand smoke in the Pacific are very high. For example, over 70% of men in one Pacific island smoke, while in another, close to 55% of women smoke. Nonsmokers are also burdened. As much as 76% of young people are exposed to second-hand smoke inside the home and 86% outside the home in the Pacific.

Each Pacific Islands have taken action to cut down on the statistics.

Papua New Guinea passed its Tobacco Control Act 2016 last year; a law to see much greater tobacco product control in the country.

World No Tobacco Day, recognised by the World Health Organisation and United Nations, is observed yearly to raise awareness on health problems that tobacco use can cause.

This event has been observed each year since 1989. LoopPNG

The challenges of poor menstrual health

Poor menstrual health (MH) poses similar challenges as adolescent pregnancy does to girls’ health and education.

Despite it being a foundation to human life, menstruation is still shrouded in stigma and taboo in many societies – because of poor knowledge.

This limits girls’ ability to manage menstruation in hygienic and dignified ways, resulting in poor health and school absenteeism.

But this is about to take a turn. A global movement has started with the aim to change the approach.

A paper published last week titled “Prioritising periods and preventing unwanted pregnancy: addressing menstrual and reproductive health in Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea” is one looking into this area.

The paper stated that:

“While evidence on MH and school attendance in the Asia-Pacific is poor, exploratory research in Timor-Leste highlights that understanding of menstruation is limited, with girls unaware of menstruation prior to menarche. Research also shows menstruation can be a deterrent from attending school, but access to appropriate facilities and products can help overcome this. New research is currently being undertaken on these issues in Solomon Islands, Fiji, and PNG with funding from the Australian Government, which will provide further evidence on MH in the Pacific.”

The paper also notes separate approaches on pregnancy (sexual and reproductive health) and menstrual health.

In an innovative new partnership supported by the Australian Government through the Gender Action Platform, Marie Stopes International Australia (MSIA) and WaterAid Australia aim to tackle these two areas simultaneously, recognising that both reproductive and menstrual health are critical to girls’ ability to be healthy, educated and empowered.

Sexual and reproductive health services (including family planning) and menstrual health education will be provided to adolescent girls and boys, as well as adult community members, in rural and urban Timor-Leste and PNG.

Facility upgrades will take place so school toilets are better equipped and more discreet and local sanitary product development will be tested by women entrepreneurs. The project will also strengthen cross-collaboration and learning within the development sector.  LoopPNG

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pathology laboratory opens in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea now has a current Pathology Laboratory in Port Moresby.

This pathology laboratory is the first of its kind for PNG, opened for the public in the nation’s capital last year.

Located at the Taurama Foodland area, this state-of-the-art and medically equipped laboratory received its accredited Australian-standard certificates which now allows for its full operation.

Director Martin Poh said Papua New Guineans no longer need to travel overseas as the service is now available in the country.

The lab is crucial for the public and will greatly assist every Papua New Guinean especially at a cheap price of K280 to do these medical tests and know their health status.

The lab specialises testing in kidney, liver, cardiovascular diabetes, urine, thyroid test and screening or any kind of infectious diseases and the general public is urged to make use of this service to get their tests done at a reasonable price when needed.LoopPNG

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Public health system in PNG gets first MRI scanner

The Port Moresby General Hospital (POMGH) today launched the first Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scanner in the public health system of Papua New Guinea.

The K4.5 million project was funded by the National Fisheries Authority.

The GE 1.5 Tesla MRI scanner is one of the most advanced MRI scanners in its class in the world.

 A MRI scanner does not use radiation unlike a computed tomography (CT) scanner and is most suitable for the brain, spine, bones, joints and muscles.

Whereas a CT scanner is more suitable for the chest, heart, lymph nodes and blood vessels.

One important use of the MRI is in cancer patients where precise visualization of the cancer inside the body can help doctors in surgical planning or prevent an unnecessary surgery in cancer patients.

Chief Radiologist Dr Dora Lentrut Katal said the MRI scan is a Government subsidised service and will be free to the public up until April.

Dr Katal said the POMGH Board will decide on the usage fee which is expected to be less than K500.

POMGH chief executive officer and vascular surgeon Dr Umesh Gupta said they’re well on this much needed path of modernisation at POMGN.

The Radiology Department now has a 1.5 Tesla MRI scanner, a 128 slice ultrafast CT scanner and digital mammography.

The department also has a full-fledged digital radiography with an IT system that enables the doctors to see the images immediately right at the bedside or in clinics.

Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Mao Zeming said MRI is a significant advancement in healthcare in PNG and NFA is proud to be associated with POMGH.

The NFA and the Sir Theo Foundation supported the funding of getting MRI expert Dr Parveen Gulati and MRI technician Harbansh Bhatia from India for the training of PNG doctors and technicians. LoopPNG